Prayer can mean many things to many people. For some, prayer is a tradition to be followed and for some it is the lifeline to communicate with God. What does it mean to you personally? When we pray, do we have confidence that our prayer is heard and will be answered? If we have this confidence, our prayer becomes a medium to fellowship with God rather than a tradition and it will remove our fears knowing God’s providence at work. How can we get this confidence? What is the basis of such confidence?
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us whatever we ask we know that we have what we asked of him.- 1 John 5:14-15
When we pray according to the will of God, God promises that he will hear and answer. This gives us the confidence to pray. It is such a wonderful verse but do we accept this as a whole all the times? Asking God for anything sounds nice but are we asking according to his will? John talked about having assurance in this text and also in earlier chapters, all those fits in to the will of God. We have confidence from what God has done in his will and from praying according to the will of God. It is all rooted in the will of God.
Confidence from what God has done in his will:
22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. – 1 John 3:22-23
And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. – John 6:40
We have been given a privilege to call God as our Father through Christ. God so loved us and Jesus came as a sacrifice in our place to redeem us, we are adopted to the family of God when we believe in Jesus. It is the will of God that we get saved and become his child. Realizing who we are will build our confidence in prayer. We can be assured that God will hear us as our father. When we have this assurance, we have the boldness to come to God as a child and ask him in prayer. Are we living as a child of God?
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.- 1 John 5:13
John’s desire was his audience should have the assurance about eternal life when living as a new creation. When we become a new creation in Christ, our destination changes from eternal death to eternal life. When we think about this magnificent life God has given us, we can rest assured that he holds our present. If God can give us his best to us to make this happen, don’t we have to be certain that he cares for us? When we pray we have this assurance from the will of God that has transpired in making us born again. It is the will of God for us to be saved and become his children. It is the will of God that we enter into eternal life. Do we have the assurance of eternal life? Are we living a regenerated life? Are we living in the light of God?
Confidence when praying according to the will of God:
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.-James 4:3
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5
When we pray according to the will of God, God not only hears but also answers. Even with many references in the scripture teaching us to pray in the will of God, don’t we abuse this so much that we make our priorities and desires ahead of the will of God? Do we realize that prayer is not a way to make God do whatever we want rather it is to conform our will according to the plan of God. James gave the reason on why some of our prayers are not answered. We pray to fulfill our desires and wonder why God is not helping.
We also need to realize that God’s answers may not come the way as we expect or in the time we expect but his answer will fulfill its purpose at the right time according to God’s plan. God gives his wisdom when we ask him to help us navigate such situation in life. That said, this is the part where many of us struggle. How do we pray according to the will of God? How do we know if we pray in the will of God?
2 In the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. 3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand. 23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; -Daniel 9:2-3,22-23
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because 7 the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. – Romans 8:26- 27
We can know the will of God through the written word of God. Look at the prayer of Daniel, he read the scriptures and understood the will of God and he prayed over the revealed word of God. God has revealed his will through the word of God. Don’t we use prayer as “FYIA” (For Your Information and Action) to God but failing to read the instructions God has given us through the word? How many of us read this living word of God to understand his will and pray according to the word of God?
Holy spirit will help us pray in the will of God. When we don’t know what to pray, the spirit of God prays for us according to the will of God. He will illuminate us in all that we need to know about God and his will. We have his guidance to pray and even when we are in the most difficult situation, we can be sure that his
spirit prays for us according to the will of God. What an amazing provision we have in Jesus!
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. – John 15:7
We can pray in the will of God when we really walk in the will of God. In this epistle, John has given us tests to find the evidence that we really act on what we profess. This gives us the assurance in our walk in Christ. When we abide in Christ and living in his word, his desires becomes our desire. We will be walking in the will of God and when we ask in Jesus name, Jesus said it will be done to us for the glory of God. Do we have this confidence when we pray?
Photo Credit: Irina Patrascu